Want to harness the original social action? ThredUP capitalizes on customer emails

Plenty of companies talk about how to harness the power of social to engage customers and sell more products, and these days, they’re usually referring to growth on sites like Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram. But what about the original social tech — email?
ThredUp, the company that’s working on e-commerce and collaborative consumption for children’s clothing, noticed that a large amount of site traffic was coming from users who were getting links to products directly over email from friends. So the company decided to capitalize on this trend of parents emailing links to each other, and begin allowing them to reserve items specifically for a friend, putting that item on hold until the other person can take a look.
“The more time I spent talking to users and watching people browse the site, the more I heard people were saying, ‘Oh this is so cute, my friend would love this for her daughter,'” said Josh Yang, the product manager for ThredUp who spearheaded the project. “And I feel like this happens on a lot of e-commerce sites, where you like something and you send it over to a friend.”
The move to capitalize on how their customers are using the site comes as companies like ThredUp work to build their brand image without traditional brick and mortar stores or showrooms, something other companies have tried with ideas like flexible return policies or limited high-end wares. But email promotions are still a significant part of retail traffic, so it will be interesting to see if ThredUp customers take advantage of the option — the company said that in the beta test, consumers who tried it reserved more than 3 items on average.
kids running ThredUP promotional image